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‘Break the Chain' guidelines will shut almost 90% restaurants in Maharashtra
Thursday, 08 April, 2021, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Our Bureau, Mumbai
The new restrictions imposed by Maharashtra Government have spelled definite doom for the hospitality industry in the State. After having suffered unprecedented damage after last year’s lockdown of over 8 months, the hospitality industry is staring at another year of similar or even worse consequences. Over 20 per cent of the hospitality establishments haven’t opened fully even after the lockdown was lifted and 30 per cent of hotels and restaurants in the country have shut down permanently due to financial loss. The rest continued to operate in losses and revenues are below 50 per cent of the pre-Covid-19 level. The new ‘Break the Chain’ guidelines introduced by State Government will force almost 90 per cent of restaurants to shut down completely.

On account of the new guidelines and losses suffered by the industry in the aftermath of the previous lockdown, the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI) has appealed to Government to compensate employees engaged in the industry and their families for the loss of income, and also support hoteliers and restaurateurs by waiving off all statutory fees, taxes and utility bills.

Sherry Bhatia, president, HRAWI, said, “Even after one year, the hospitality industry has not received any relief from Government of the approximately 30 lakh employees engaged in the industry directly in the State, 40 per cent have faced job loss and the figures are only increasing. Many employees, who have just returned from their homes, will have to be compensated to ensure that their families are not made to suffer all over again. There is no way that the industry can survive another lockdown.”

The HRAWI has stated that Maharashtra Government’s latest ‘Break the Chain’ order is equivalent to another complete lockdown. Maharashtra has around 10,500 hotels and 210,000 restaurants. The hospitality industry especially, the small and medium hotels and eateries are in deep financial trouble. The HRAWI has warned that without Government’s intervention and support, the industry is staring at a disaster.

Pradeep Shetty, senior vice president, HRAWI, said, “With the latest conditions laid down by the Government, restaurants will choose to not open at all for the month. With the WFH culture, earnings in the day are next to negligible and food delivery contributes only around 5 to 7 per cent of the total revenue. Approximately 70 to 80 per cent of a restaurant’s weekly turnover is generated through weekend business and approximately 80 per cent revenue is generated in the evenings from dine-in customers. Restaurants are popular for dine-in services, for the ambience they offer and food delivery is only a supplementary service. To keep an establishment open just for deliveries is not at all viable. Under such a scenario, shutting down the business entirely is the only choice.”

“Hotels and restaurants have been following all the guidelines, SOPs and social distancing norms advised by the Government. Despite the industry being most disciplined and conscious of safety, it is the first to be victimised whenever a restrictive action is announced. The hospitality industry will once again support Government like it did last year. But, there will be no hospitality industry to support if it does not offer us relief. Our businesses are under immense financial stress and what worries us more is that we can do nothing about it but follow orders issued by Government. Since the industry is financially drained, we expect that Government should do justice to the owners by waiving off electricity and water bills, excise license fee and other statutory fees; and also take care of the staff salaries until the industry becomes completely operational again,” concluded Shetty.
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